Do you believe in reincarnation? Naysayers will be silenced by the second coming of the GullWing. The Mercedes SLS AMG is the spiritual successor to the iconic 300 SL “Gullwing” of the 1950s, and is an absolute stunner.
If you ask any car enthusiast to give you their list of the most iconic sports cars of all time, the Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing will undoubtedly be on that list. First introduced in 1954, The Stuttgart-based brand unveiled its new sports car at the International Motor Sports Show in New York, and in so doing, lit the fuse of an icon of the automotive world.
The revolutionary design, along with its vertically opening “Gull Wing” doors, oozed sex appeal, sophistication, and status. But let’s not forget about speed! This car’s design and engineering was conceived initially as a purpose-built racing sports car that dominated the international racing circuit in 1952, before it went into domestic production. It claimed wins at 24 Hours of LeMans, Nürburgring, and the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico.
With the 300 sl legacy intact, the boys at Mercedes Benz could have left well enough alone, sitting in reverence for another 100 years or so knowing that they were responsible for creating what is arguably the most desirable sports car this planet has ever seen. But that just wouldn’t be their style now would it?
When I started hearing rumors that MB was planning to revive its already immortal Gullwing, I almost shed a tear thinking about the poor bastards whose job it was (jobs they were surely about to lose) to basically re-create a modern miracle of innovation. That’s like asking Eli Manning to go out on the field and be just as good as his big brother Peyton. It just isn’t going to happen.
I digress. Little did I know at the time, those poor bastards that I was feeling sorry for were none other than Mercedes- Benz in house tuning gurus, AMG. Although this is their first time completely building a car from the ground up, you would never know it.
The result is a pure performance car with a top speed of almost 200 mph, pit bull grip, and the agility and rigor of an F-22 Raptor fighter jet. Despite it’s GT sized proportions, its all-aluminum chassis, body, suspension, and engine make this car surprisingly light. The design truly pays homage to the 300SL with retro touches like the front fender gills, long hood, and the short deck. Unlike the original, this car is extremely wide, like Dodge Viper wide. This is necessary however, to minimize body roll when you’re powering through a corner at 100 + mph. The tremendous torque of the 563 hp engine tends to make it a little squirrelly through turns and it tends to oversteer, but the enormous 295/30ZR20 rear tires help to get it back on track.
The power is monstrous, with willing response through all rev ranges. Floor it from a stop, and the 6.3-liter V8 engine explodes into a ripsaw wail that will make your pupils dilate as it vaults the car to 60 mph in only 3.7 seconds. This latter day Gullwing is an absolute bullet. That said, if you just want to take it easy, the car is perfectly willing to stroll slowly along the boulevard, with only the droning engine note detracting from a relaxed cruise. The performance is what makes this modern day adaptation so special: it is an everyday supercar, and an exotic daily driver.
If you don’t want to attract attention, don’t get this car. But if you’re out for attention, just pull over, open the Gullwing doors and bask in the spotlight. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Winning.